How is rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosed?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

No test results are pathognomonic for rheumatoid arthritis (RA); instead, the diagnosis is made by using a combination of clinical, laboratory, and imaging features. For clinical and radiologic criteria used in determining disease progression, see 2012 ACR Disease Activity Measures. Bone scanning findings may help distinguish inflammatory from noninflammatory changes in patients with minimal swelling, and densitometry findings are useful for helping diagnose changes in bone mineral density that are indicative of osteoporosis.


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